Limited and External Funding Opportunity Announcements

General guidelines for Limited Submissions

Active Internal Calls for Limited Submission Nominations 

Searle Scholars Program

Internal proposals due July 3rd 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center may nominate two candidates for the Searle Scholars Program for 2018, which supports the independent research of outstanding individuals who have recently begun their first appointments as tenure-track assistant professors.  Each year, 15 new individuals are named Searle Scholars. Grants are currently set at $100,000 per year for three years.

Applicants are expected to be pursuing independent research careers in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology and related areas in chemistry, medicine and the biological sciences.  Candidates should have begun their first tenure-track appointment as an independent investigator at the assistant professor level on or after July 1, 2016. The Searle Scholars Program does not ordinarily support purely clinical research but has supported research programs that include both clinical and basic components.

Eligible faculty who are interested in being considered for nomination by VUMC* must submit the following (in PDF format) to  by 5 p.m. Monday, July 3, 2017

  • Brief (2-page maximum) research plan including summary budget;
  • Brief statement of support from department chair/center director;
  • CV or NIH Biosketch

Submissions should reference the program name in the subject line of the email.

Once received, all proposals will be forwarded to an internal review committee that will choose the final nominees. The chosen nominees will submit full proposals to the Foundation by its September 29, 2017 deadline.

If you have any questions about the sponsor or its interests and priorities, please contact Megan Smallwood, Program Manager, VUMC Office of Research (615-875-7529).


Active Internal Calls for NON-Limited External Nominations 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Competition

Applications due June 27th 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute is pleased to announce a national competition for the appointment of outstanding scientists as HHMI investigators. This competition will enable HHMI to strengthen its community of basic researchers and physician scientists who bring innovative approaches to the study of biological problems in biomedical disciplines, plant biology, evolutionary biology, biophysics, chemical biology, biomedical engineering, and computational biology.

From this competition, HHMI expects to appoint up to 20 new investigators who will be among the most creative and promising in the nation. HHMI investigators are expected to demonstrate a combination of the following attributes that distinguish them from other highly competent scientists in their field.

  • They identify and pursue significant biological questions in a rigorous and deep manner.
  • They push their chosen research field into new areas of inquiry, being consistently at its forefront.
  • They develop new tools and methods that enable creative experimental approaches to biological questions, bringing to bear, when necessary, concepts or techniques from other disciplines.
  • They forge links between basic biology and medicine.
  • They demonstrate great promise of future original and innovative contributions.

HHMI welcomes a diverse and broad applicant pool. Individuals from gender, racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical research at the career stages targeted by this program are encouraged to apply. This investigator competition places no restrictions on the number of applications from any eligible institution, and HHMI welcomes geographic diversity and diversity of scientific approaches in its applicant pool. Eligible individuals will apply directly; an institutional endorsement is not part of the application process.


  • PhD and/or MD (or the equivalent).
  • Tenured or tenure-track position as an assistant professor or higher academic rank (or the equivalent) at an eligible U.S. institution. Federal government employees are not eligible.
  • More than 3, but no more than 12, years of post-training, professional experience. To meet this requirement, the applicant’s first professional appointment must have begun no earlier than June 1, 2005, and no later than September 1, 2014.
  • Principal investigator on one or more active, national, peer-reviewed research grants with an initial duration of at least three years, such as an NIH R01 grant, as of August 1, 2017. Mentored awards, career development and training grants do not qualify. Multi-investigator grants may qualify.

Important Conditions

  • Appointees become full-time employees of HHMI and are appointed for a seven-year, renewable period.
  • HHMI investigators are required to devote at least 75% of their total effort to the direct conduct of biomedical research. Applicants with administrative responsibilities or other duties inconsistent with this time commitment may apply, but must reduce those other commitments to be appointed.
  • At the time of the submission deadline, applicants must hold a qualifying position at the institution where their HHMI appointment would be made. In addition, an investigator may not transfer to another institution during the first five years of the initial appointment term and retain their HHMI appointment.

Any questions regarding eligibility or HHMI policies should be addressed to

Application Process Establish eligibility and apply here. The deadline for applications is June 27, 2017, at 3:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time). All applications must be submitted electronically following instructions on the competition web site. 

American College of Rheumatology, Rheumatology Research Foundation Scientist Development Award

Applications due July 3, 2017

This award is designed for individuals in the early stages of their career (typically Fellows-in-Training) or those without significant prior research experience who plan to embark on careers in biomedical and/or clinical research in arthritis and rheumatic diseases. The purpose of this award is to provide support for a structured research training program for rheumatologists or health professionals in the field of rheumatology.

This mentored career development program provides support for salary as well as research and/or education costs for the early years of research training in an environment where trainees may interact with established investigators in a clinical unit involved in the care of rheumatic diseases. The goal of funding at this level is to provide an opportunity for young scientists to embark on focused research and research training that will allow them to be competitive for the next level of career development awards. Through this award, the Foundation provides a means for ensuring more qualified, highly-trained investigators in the field of rheumatology. Applications must have relevance to the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of people with rheumatic disease.

Award Amount: Up to $225,000 for up to 3 years


  • Applicant must meet citizenship and other eligibility requirements as outlined in the Awards and Grants policies.
  • Applicant must be an ACR or ARHP member at the time of submission and for the duration of the award.
  • ACR members must meet the following criteria:
    • Have earned a DO, MD, or MD/PhD degree and by the start of the award term have completed at least one year of training in an ACGME accredited rheumatology training program.
    • Individuals more than 5 years from the beginning of fellowship (or 6 years for pediatric rheumatologists) at the time of award start may not apply.
    • MDs and DOs who are not licensed to perform clinical care may not apply.
  • ARHP members must meet the following criteria:
    • Have earned a PhD, DSc, or equivalent doctoral degree.
    • Must be within 3 years of terminal degree at the time of award start.
  • The Foundation does not currently support PhD’s working on basic science projects.
  • Applicant must be affiliated with an accredited graduate or medical school.
  • Be able to commit at least 75 percent full-time professional effort to research, career development, and other scholarly activities. Candidates may not spend more than 25 percent effort in clinical and/or teaching activities.
  • Receive acceptance by a mentor who will oversee the training and research experience.
  • Former or current principal investigators of research grants (at the K level or higher, including institutional K) and past awardees of this or equivalent Foundation grants are NOT eligible to apply.
  • Applicants may not apply for the Investigator Award in the same funding cycle.

Please see the research awards website and detailed award guidelines for application details and instructions for submission.

Lupus Research Alliance New Research Grants for Novel Approaches to Lupus

Applications due July 10, 2017

The Lupus Research Alliance invites applications for financial support for idea-driven, novel research projects relevant to basic, translational or clinical investigation in lupus.

The program goals are to stimulate investigation of underexplored pathways and initiate transformative discoveries in lupus that can drive the development of safer and more effective treatments. Investigations into the fundamental mechanisms of lupus and its complications, explorations of novel targets and pathways, and applications involving novel technologies and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly encouraged.

Applicants should hold advanced degrees and be affiliated with institutions of higher learning. Applications from outside the United States are encouraged. Grant application research plans are limited to six pages. Annual funding of up to $100,000 per year, beginning March 2018, for a term of up to three years, will be awarded for approved projects.

Please visit the website for application details and instructions for submission.

Takeda Harrington Rare Disease Scholar Award Program

LOIs due July 19, 2017

The Harrington Rare Disease Scholar Award Program sponsored by Takeda aims to accelerate breakthrough research in rare diseases. The award recognizes MD and PhD researchers from across the United States whose discoveries show promise for translation into novel treatments and cures.

Up to 10 Harrington Rare Disease Scholars will be selected. Awardees are selected by Harrington Discovery Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board for Rare Diseases.

Multi-Level Support for Award Recipients Includes:

  • $150,000 guaranteed; potential award of up to $1,000,000
  • Drug development and project management support through Harrington Discovery Institute's Innovation Support Center
  • Facilitated access to Takeda’s research and development experts
  • Dedicated pharma team provided for each scholar
  • Business and commercialization assessment • Clinical development strategy
  • Regulatory guidance
  • Intellectual property review and strategy
  • Access to contract research organizations/service providers

Eligibility Criteria

  • Academic investigators on faculty at accredited medical centers, research institutions, and universities in the United States only
  • Lead investigator must have an MD and/or PhD (or equivalent)
  • Past recipients of Harrington Scholar awards may submit new and distinct proposals, but may not seek additional support for previously funded projects

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Research Foundation - Research Grants and Fellowships

Applications due July 24, 2017

From transplanting cells to regenerating damaged nerve fibers to designing adaptive canoe seats, the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation supports innovative research and fellowships that improve the lives of those with spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D). The Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, funds the following categories:

Laboratory research in the basic sciences to find a cure for SCI/D
Clinical and functional studies of the medical, psychosocial and economic effects of SCI/D, and interventions to alleviate these effects
Design and development of assistive technology for people with SCI/D, which includes improving the identification, selection and utilization of these devices
Fellowships for postdoctoral scientists, clinicians and engineers to encourage training and specialization in the field of spinal cord research


The Research Foundation is focused on funding projects grounded in basic laboratory science and the education of scientists working on breakthroughs directed toward a cure for paralysis or the secondary medical conditions, and technologies associated with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D).  These projects should be designed to find better treatments and cures for paralysis, to support efforts to improve the quality of life of individuals with SCI/D until improved clinical treatments, technologies or cures are discovered, and to train post-doctoral fellow investigators and encourage them to specialize in the area of spinal cord research. 

Before submitting a grant application, carefully read the Research Foundation's Policies and Procedures as policies may change from year to year.


Eligible grantee institutions must be located in the United States or Canada. However, investigators and fellows are not required to be U.S. or Canadian citizens. All grant applicants must have a professional degree: Ph.D. or M.D. preferred, master’s degree acceptable under some circumstances.
Senior fellows are encouraged to apply as principal investigators. Post-doctoral individuals are eligible to apply for fellowship support within four years of receiving a Ph.D. or completing M.D. residency. Graduate students can participate in Foundation-related research and be paid from a Foundation award. However, graduate students cannot apply for a Foundation grant either as a fellow or as a principal investigator.

Please visit the foundation site for additional information.

Concern Foundation's CONquer canCER Now Award

LOIs due September 7, 2017

The Conquer Cancer Now Award is a $60,000 grant given to young and innovative cancer researchers focused on cancer genetics, cancer biology and cancer immunology. Approximately 20 researchers receive a $60,000 Conquer Cancer Now Award per year for the two-year grant cycle. The Concern Foundation is now accepting LOI's through September 7th, 2017.


Grants are awarded to independent investigators who are at the start of their scientific career (i.e., junior faculty) and are at the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent with explanation). A letter from the applicant's Department Chair is required and should attest to

  • the applicant's faculty status
  • the applicant's status as an independent investigator
  • institutional support in terms of stand-alone laboratory space and startup funds
  • percent protected time devoted to research as junior faculty. 

This letter needs to accompany the initial Letter of Intent and (if selected) also uploaded with the full proposal. 

Priority is given to proposals from independent investigators who have yet to obtain significant funding for their work. Applicant who is PI on an existing R01 or equivalent is not eligible. Applicant who is notified prior to the full Concern grant submission deadline of a clearly fundable score on an R01 or equivalent grant-in-review where he/she is PI is also not eligible. However, a submitted R01 that has not yet been reviewed at the time of Concern grant submission is eligible. If its score is not clearly fundable in this interim period, contact Concern to determine eligibility. 

Applicants must list all current and pending support from other funding sources, noting any budgetary or scientific overlap. This includes funding from all years of multi-year grants. This information will be requested with the initial LOI and will need to be updated with the full grant application. 

Concern Foundation accepts grant applications from institutions in the United States and abroad. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement. 

Applicants at governmental agencies are not eligible. 


The total grant amount for a Conquer Cancer Now Award is $60,000 per year for a maximum of two years. A second year of funding is not guaranteed and is based on evidence of sufficient progress based on the required progress report, availability of funds, and approval of the Concern Foundation Executive Board. Grants are disbursed in quarterly installments. 

Please visit the foundation site for additional details.

Gilead Sciences Research Scholars Program in Hematology/Oncology

Applications due September 8, 2017

The program is designed to support innovative translational research projects in hematology/oncology, with a focus on hematologic malignancies, that can be either based around a clinical trial with strong correlative science or laboratory investigation.

Awards granted under the program may not be duplicative of funding from institutional or hospital, other governmental, non-governmental, or industry sources. Applicants seeking an award for research projects that are currently receiving or may receive partial funding from other sources are required to submit appropriate evidence, including budget information related to the other sources, to demonstrate that there is no direct overlap in funding.

This award is intended for junior faculty who are in the early stages of their career and are planning to become independent investigators.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold an MD, DO, PhD, or equivalent degree at time of award
  • Be within 5 years of initial faculty appointment in association with an academic research institution in the United States or Canada at the time of application
  • Have a strong career interest in hematology/oncology, with a focus on hematologic malignancies
  • Have a research mentor with extensive experience in the field of hematology/oncology, with a focus on hematologic malignancies
  • Be able to devote at least 50% of professional time to research (versus administrative, patient care, or teaching responsibilities)
  • Be able to complete the proposed research within the 2-year award period, providing evidence (manuscript, presentation, or abstracts) for future research projects


An applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada or hold a temporary nonimmigrant visa. This visa must be valid for the two-year award period (January 2, 2018 – December 31, 2019).

Please visit the program website for more information.

Merck Investigator Studies Program (MISP)

LOIs reviewed on an ongoing basis. There are no deadlines.

Amount: The amount is not specified. Financial and/or product support is contingent upon full execution by both parties of the research agreement.

Applicant Type: Graduate Student, New Faculty/New Investigator, Ph.D./M.D./Other Professional

Abstract: The Mission Statement is to advance science and improve patient care by supporting, through the provision of drug/vaccine and/or total/partial funding, high-quality research that is initiated, designed, implemented and sponsored by external investigators. Results will be generated and properly disseminated in peer-reviewed publications.

This program consists of committees of medical and scientific staff from different therapeutic areas who meet regularly to review Merck investigator study proposals. Support is provided based on the scientific merit of the proposal as well as whether it is in alignment with the published areas of interest. Information related to areas of interest and requirements for submission can be found by clicking on the appropriate link for your therapeutic area.

The current MISP areas supported are:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Endocrinology
  • Health Literacy/Diversity/Adherence
  • Infectious Disease
  • Merck for Mothers
  • Neuroscience
  • Oncology
  • Respiratory/Allergy
  • Surgery
  • Women's Health
  • Vaccines

Eligibility: The Merck Investigator Studies Program is open to all academic and community-based physicians and researchers worldwide who are interested in conducting their own research.

Walmart Foundation National Giving Program

LOIs reviewed on an ongoing basis. There are no deadlines.

The underlying focus in all of the Walmart Foundation's work is on empowering low-income people to help them live better. This program allows the Foundation to work strategically with organizations working across one or more states to address social issues strongly aligned with the Foundation's focus areas. 

The program awards grants of $250,000 and above. Overhead/indirect costs (i.e., non-program-related expenses) may not exceed 10% of the total program budget. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation do not currently award multi-year commitments. Organizations may, however, propose initiatives with timeframes that extend up to two years. No-cost extensions may be requested for up to an additional 12 months, if necessary. 

Please visit the website for application details and instructions for submission.